August 21, 2015    
Welcome back! We hope you enjoy this month's issue of the Pulse where we share with you a wonderful story of success in the Skyland community and the work of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team, learn about mastication, share our very first video blog and more! Don't forget to check out our calendar by clicking here so you can stay informed of our upcoming events. Thanks for reading!
Skyland Fire Adapted Community
Helps Senior Homeowner in Need

Skyland volunteers collected 65 trash bags full of pine needles, cones and other fuels from a disabled neighbor's property. Photo courtesy of Ann Grant.

We asked the Skyland Fire Adapted Community Leader, Ann Grant, to share her success on a community project she initiated in April for a neighbor in need. Ann was made aware that a disabled senior homeowner in Skyland had been financially unable to remove the pine needles and pine cones surrounding her home for the past three years and was not going to be able to have them removed in 2015 either. Ann called several homeowners in Skyland, asking if they would volunteer their time to help clean up her yard and found seven willing volunteers. Together they worked to clear the debris and clean the homeowner's yard, filling 65 large yard trash bags! In the past, the homeowner had done fuels reduction to create defensible space, but due to some unfortunate circumstances was unable to keep it up. Through the volunteers' efforts, they were able to restore her defensible space again. Skyland residents pay for garbage service by the garbage can per week and pay more for each extra bag. It was financially impossible for this homeowner to pay for disposal, but a local company arranged to pick up the bags and disposed of them for her at no cost. The homeowner was extremely grateful for all the volunteers and mentioned that she didn't know that her community would ever do anything like that for her.   
The Skyland Fire Adapted Community serves as a great example of community togetherness and has been instrumental in bringing together members of the community to interact and help each other. To learn more about how your community can work together to become "Fire Adapted", consider signing up for the Network !
Partner Spotlight: 
Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

Forest Schafer, Incident Commander of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team conducting a community briefing. Photo courtesy of of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.

On June 25, 2007 the Angora Fire ignited near the city of South Lake Tahoe, California. Pushed by strong winds, the fire spread rapidly into extraordinarily dry fuels. By the time control of this blaze was achieved the fire had consumed 3,100 acres of forest and destroyed or seriously damaged 344 homes and other structures. In response to the devastation of this fire, federal and state land managers worked with local fire districts and regulatory agencies to create the structure and operational guidelines for a multi-agency coordinating unit that became known as the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT). While not a legal entity, the TFFT does represent a collective decision to improve planning, finance and implementation of wildfire threat mitigation projects by sharing data, resources and personnel within the Tahoe Basin. The latest example of the TFFT's extraordinary success is the completion of a comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the entire Lake Tahoe Basin. The plan  will be presented to the public during the Lake Tahoe Environmental Summit on Monday, August 24, 2015.   The contents of the plan not only present risk and hazard ratings, priority fuels treatment projects, and a detailed record of work that has been accomplished, but also incorporates the following goals of the nation's cohesive wildfire threat reduction strategy:
  • Create fire adapted communities:  The plan provides mitigation strategies and community-driven action plans to help create communities where citizens are engaged and active in preparing for wildfire. It facilitates interagency cooperation and strengthens communication and support between agencies and the public.
  • Restore and maintain fire-resilient landscapes:  The plan provides prioritized locations for fuel reduction treatments to enable land managers to effectively work across jurisdictions and address risks to ecosystems and communities at a landscape scale.
  • Provide effective and efficient wildfire response:  The plan provides strategic treatments on the landscape that will facilitate safer and more successful suppression. This plan provides for tracking, reporting and sharing of both fuel reduction accomplishments and homeowner/community initiatives.
The culmination of a three-year effort, this new Community Wildfire Protection Plan produced by 18 TFFT member organizations is a significant achievement. It stands as an important example of what can be achieved when effective leadership works with committed partners to accomplish a common goal.
Ask an Expert

A Pulse reader asked "What is mastication?" and we turned to Meri McEneny, owner and operator of Defensible Space Solutions for the answer. Her reply:
Mastication is a mechanical treatment that "chews" vegetation into smaller pieces, or mulch, like our teeth masticate food.  This treatment is used to modify vegetation structure, primarily for reducing the wildfire threat by creating fuel breaks. The widths of mechanical treatments vary depending on the piece of equipment used, but most equipment is about six feet in width. Multiple passes with the equipment will create the desired width for the fuel break. Often, a mosaic pattern of widely separated vegetation is created based on the guidelines of Living With Fire to reduce the wildfire threat while also considering wildlife habitat and aesthetic values. Vegetation within 30 feet of structures should be aggressively modified.

Homeowners with overgrown vegetation near their homes benefit from mastication, specifically when the amount of work required exceeds the ability of the home gardener to accomplish. Often, overgrown parcels over a quarter-acre in size are too substantial for the homeowner to keep under control. Depending on local fire agencies or insurance company requirements, mastication helps a homeowner to avoid fines or rising premiums by creating defensible space.

Mastication can also be very environmentally friendly. Most mastication equipment is used for above-ground grinding and therefore does not disturb the soil in the way that bulldozing disturbs the soil. Disturbed soils allow the introduction of non-native weeds, which can increase the spread of wildfire, and displace native plants and the animals that rely on them. Animals also benefit from mastication by having access improved, and in the future, new vegetation for food and habitat. 

If you would like to learn more about mastication or work with Meri, you can contact her at .
Before and after photos of a mastication project. Photos courtesy of Meri McEneny.
Goat Grazing for Fuel Reduction

Watch Jenny learn more about preparing for wildfire in her very first video blog! In this video, Jenny learns about how goats (yes, goats!) can help our community prepare for wildfire. Be sure to check out the blooper reel for a good laugh. Click here to see the videos!
Funding Opportunities

Sometimes prospective grant opportunities can come from unexpected places.  Many companies and organizations offer small grants to applicants that your community may qualify for. In most cases, the applicant must be a non-profit organization (i.e. a fuels reduction project for a local church) or sometimes a volunteer fire department can apply. Here are a couple of these "out-of-the-box" funding opportunities that we have discovered:

State Farm Safety Grants
State Farm offers funding directed toward home safety and fire prevention, disaster preparedness, and disaster recover. The application process will begin September 1, 2015. Learn more about this grant here .

WalMart Community Grant Program
Walmart associates help support the needs of their communities by providing grants to local organizations through their Community Grant Program. Awarded grants range from $250 to $2,500, with the current grant cycle ending December 31, 2015. Learn more about the Community Grant Program here .
What do you think?
We'd like your feedback! What information would you like to know to help reduce the wildfire threat to your community? Reply to this email to share your thoughts.
This newsletter is provided by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, an EEO/AA institution, with funding from a State Fire Assistance grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service. Additional support is provided by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office.
In This Issue
The Network Annual Conference
November 9th
We hope you received our "Save-the-Date" announcement for the November 9th Annual Conference of the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities. This one-day important and exciting event will be held at the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada. The agenda will include first-person accounts on the impact of wildfire from various viewpoints, as well as strategies for building partnerships and developing Fire Adapted Communities.
 Registration will open on September 1st, so be sure to mark the date on your calendar to reserve your spot - you don't want to miss it!

Stay Connected